Autumn Releases 2: King’s Company

9781908041197

King’s Company

It could have been a shadow, but the darkness was too thick, and solid. Then the shape shifted, spreading and splitting, until William could see separate bodies: horsemen, five or six of them, gathered as if for a discussion.

       Only horsemen. But born in the middle of the civil war, William had never known a time when strangers in the lanes didn’t bring a warning chill at their backs.”

A chance encounter plunges young William D’Amory into a world of intrigue and betrayal. He meets new friends and dangerous enemies, and learns the truth about his father, as he is caught up in the fight for the throne of England itself.

This is an exciting debut by Jessamy Taylor. We’re sure she’ll become a major voice in historical fiction for children because she blends a sure feel for story-telling with a vivid sense of period, in the tradition of Rosemary Sutcliff and Ronald Welch. And in William D’Amory she has created a hero that boys and girls will want to follow to the last page.

Artisan Publishing?

artisanbakerjeffSomeone was asking us about our ‘mission’ the other day. It’s tricky to have one of those without sounding narcissistic or megalomaniacal. When we’ve kicked around the question of ‘why are we here’, the answers have included wanting to produce books that are as good as we can make them; books that are a pleasure to give or to own; or books that ought to be ‘out there’ but might not be an obvious commercial proposition. It all sounded a bit like making the best cheese, cakes or bread: the finest ingredients; taking the time to make them as well as you can; and concentrating on quality rather than sales figures (though all done in a businesslike way). So are we an artisan publisher? (That’s not to be confused with the Workman imprint Artisan, or Singapore-Based Artisan Publishing, or even Artisan Publishing Limited, long since dissolved.) Or a ‘craft’ publisher? Either way, we’ve noticed that, like Jeff here (of Jeff’s Breads, Lewisburg, West Virginia), artisans seem to enjoy their work!

Breaking down barriers to books and reading

Bookwitch has a great report on a talk by maori Kidd at the publishers Barrington Stoke, who are experts in producing books that help children with dyslexia enjoy reading. Even basics like proper line spacing can make a difference, as well as choice of language and sentence length. There’s some food for thought for our designers here.

Bookwitch

You can’t help but feel dreadfully inspired by talks on how to help more people to read! In this case it was dyslexia and – primarily – Barrington Stoke who told a packed theatre on Tuesday about what goes wrong and what can be done to make reading better. I know it’s stupid, but you sort of come away from an event like that wishing you were dyslexic.

I’m not and I’m very grateful that I’m not, but it’s the sheer inspiration you get and the feeling of hope that you can make reading easier.

Mairi Kidd from Barrington Stoke talked about how you read. There are two ways; recognising the whole word, and working your way through a word letter by letter. It’s important the letters don’t look too similar, so they go out of their way to make b and p and q look different from each other in…

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Another Dubious Gift from Amazon

Amazon-logoThe retail giant’s behaviour has been so awful for so long that we’ve reached the stage of assuming that anything new they come up with must have a sinister secret purpose. The latest announcement is “Kindle Kid’s Book Creator” which promises to make turning images and text into wonderful books across multiple platforms a doodle. We shall see – but having recently met actual Amazon people in the flesh, and found it everything we feared, we won’t rule out the thought that this is just another step on Amazon’s march towards domination of the world of books. But we will have a play with it and report back.